The trial of a leading loyalist has heard a handwriting expert concluded his signature may link him to a set of interviews given to Boston College. Winston Rea, 69, from Springwell Road, in Groomsport, County Down, faces up to 19 charges. They include aiding and abetting the murders of two Catholic men. Mr Rea denies all the charges, which are based on interviews he allegedly gave to the US college. Read full story here.
Winston Rea believed loyalist leaders should have stopped the activities of the Shankill Butchers during the Troubles, his trial has heard. Mr Rea, from Springwell Road, in Groomsport, County Down, faces 19 charges relating to offences allegedly committed between 1973 and 1996. The 69-year-old denies all charges. The charges against Mr Rea are based on contributions the prosecution say he made to an oral history project at Boston College in the United States. Read more here.
Ivor Bell, a former Irish Republican Army (IRA) leader, was aquitted last week of the 1972 kidnapping and murder of Jean McConville, for which he was accused at least in part due to tapes recorded as part of a research project at Boston College. In a statement to The Heights, former IRA member Anthony McIntyre noted his satisfaction with the court’s ruling. McIntyre, who was imprisoned for 18 years on murder charges before earning a Ph.D. in history, was responsible for conducting many of the Belfast Project interviews with former republicans. For full story click here.
The Boston College tapes which were meant to provide an oral history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland have been ruled “unreliable” as a veteran Republican was cleared of Jean McConville’s murder. For full story click here.
Police and prosecutors have been given two weeks to provide reasons why recorded interviews with a former IRA man should not be sent back to America. High Court judges sitting in Belfast set the deadline in Anthony McIntyre's legal battle against police accessing his "Boston tapes". The tapes are candid interviews with loyalist and republican paramilitaries held in a library at Boston College. For the full story on this development click here.
An inquest opened in Belfast on November 30 to investigate the deaths of ten people killed in controversial circumstances in 1971. Yet despite a delay of over 40 years, the coroner was unable to set a date for a hearing due to the absence of funding. This is not an isolated case. There are currently 56 cases involving 97 deaths in which the families of victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland are still waiting for inquests, of which 22 have been waiting for over 40 years. They include the families of those killed in some of the most controversial cases of the conflict, including the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 when ten people were allegedly shot by the British Army in West Belfast, and the Kingsmills Massacre in 1976 when ten protestant workmen were allegedly shot by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) on their way home from work in South Armagh. These so-called “legacy inquests” are simply one aspect of an ongoing battle over how to deal with the past in Northern Ireland. The full story here. Read another article addressing the issue here.
After years of ongoing legal issues, Boston College’s (BC) Belfast Project is again in the news. The Project, launched in 2001, is an oral history collection consisting of recorded interviews from participants in Northern Ireland’s 30-year civil conflict known as the Troubles. For full story click here.
There has been a lot in the news this week about the arrest of Gerry Adams as a result of disclosures in the Boston College Project. This project interviewed both sides of the conflict in Ireland during what some call "The Troubles". Here is a list of articles including an ABC radio interview which will give you a good picture showing what has happened and why:
A former IRA commander has been charged with one of the most horrific murders during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, based on information gathered by Boston College as part of an oral history project. Ivor Bell is awaiting trial in Belfast on charges he aided and abetted the murder of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10 who in 1972 was abducted, shot, and secretly buried by the IRA after she was accused of being an informer. For full story, click here.